The 2014 Winter Olympics proved a tough competition for U.S. speed skaters, who, thanks in part to an extremely strong showing by the Netherlands, were shut out of the medals in every long and short track individual event. But the bad luck streak at long last came to an end on Feb. 21 when the men's short track team claimed silver in the 5,000 meter relay.
Led and anchored by team veteran J.R. Celski, who earned two medals at the Vancouver Games, the squad composed of 2010 Olympian Jordan Malone, Eddy Alvarez and Chris Creveling finished just behind the gold medal-winning Russian team achored by Viktor Ahn with a 45-lap time of 6:42.371. China overcame an early fall to claim the bronze medal in 6:48.341. The defending gold and silver medalists, Canada and Korea, competed in the B-final and were not eligible to medal.
But the U.S. men nearly missed a chance to compete in the medal event after a scary moment during the Feb. 13 semifinals that saw Korea's Lee Ho-Suk trip Alvarez. Although Alvarez recovered, the U.S. finished only third, but after review, Korea was disqualified for the foul and the Americans earned a spot in the A-final.
Speed skating at the 2014 Winter Olympics concludes Feb. 22 with the ladies' and men's team pursuit finals.